2017 Istanbul nightclub shooting
|Istanbul nightclub shooting|
|Part of the Turkey–ISIL conflict|
The Reina nightclub in Istanbul in 2012
|Date||1 January 2017 |
|Target||Patrons at Reina nightclub|
|Perpetrators||Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)|
At 01:15 am local time on 1 January 2017 a gunman shot and killed 39 people and wounded 79 others at the Reina nightclub in the Ortaköy neighbourhood of Istanbul, where hundreds had been celebrating the new year. Uzbekistan-born Abdulkadir Masharipov was arrested in Istanbul on 17 January 2017. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed credit for his actions. The first hearing in the trial of Masharipov and 51 accused accomplices was held on 11 December 2017, and the next hearing was held on 26 March 2018.
From the 2016 northern summer, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had been under pressure and had sustained significant territorial losses due to three parallel offensives: the Turkish-Free Syrian Army Western al-Bab offensive and Battle of al-Bab, the Syrian Democratic Forces' Northern Raqqa offensive, and the Battle of Mosul in Iraq. The Turkish military intervention in Syria was the first military confrontation between ISIL and the Turkish Army, raising tensions.
Before the nightclub attack, heightened security measures had been put in place in Istanbul, with 17,000 police officers on duty, following several attacks in the area, including the attack on the Istanbul Atatürk Airport on 28 June 2016 which killed 48 people, and a bombing at the Vodafone Arena on 10 December 2016 which killed 46.
A gunman opened fire in the nightclub at about 01:15. He reportedly carried an AK-47 rifle and, after killing a police officer and a bystander at the entrance, he entered the club shooting, allegedly dressed up as the mythical character Santa Claus. The attacker reportedly spoke Arabic as the attack was taking place, and shouted the Arabic phrase "Allāhu akbar" during the attack. He reportedly fired more than 180 rounds during the seven-minute attack, and used stun grenades to aid in reloading. After the assault, he went into the kitchen, changed his clothes, and escaped by blending in with the crowd.
At the time of the attack, about 600 people were at the nightclub to celebrate the New Year. Thirty-nine people were killed, including the police officer on duty at the club entrance, and at least 79 others were injured. A number of people jumped into the waters of the Bosphorus strait to escape the attack. In the aftermath, police set up a cordon around the nightclub.
Seven Uyghur restaurant workers were arrested by police in Zeytinburnu, which became the site of over 50 police sweeps against "East Turkistanis" (Uyghurs), Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Uzbeks, a number of Uyghurs were detained outside of Istanbul in Selimpaşa, and altogether up to 36 people were detained in connection with the investigation in the days following the attack. It has been alleged that Kyrgyzstan passports were used by several families allegedly from East Turkestan with 20 children, and 22 women and men, all of whom were among 40 arrested by Turkish security forces in İzmir's Bornova and Buca districts. Weapons were found with the İzmir suspects. Syrians, Uyghurs, and Dagestanis were arrested in Izmir.
On 9 January 2017, Turkish police identified the suspected gunman as an Uzbek national, Abdulkadir Masharipov (Uzbek Cyrillic: Абдул-Кадир Машарипов; born 2 August 1988), who also goes by the name Abu Muhammed Horasani. He was arrested on 16 January at a Kyrgyz friend's apartment in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul. Firearms, ammunition, two drones and about $200,000 were found in the apartment.
Masharipov was 28 years old at the time of the attack and is believed to have been trained as a militant in Afghanistan and Pakistan before illegally entering Turkey through the Iranian border in January 2016. Masharipov is also believed to have trained with Al Qaeda in Iraq, the group that morphed into ISIL, and had spent most of his time in Turkey in the city of Konya before arriving in Istanbul on 16 December 2016. In an interview with police, Masharipov stated he was initially directed by ISIL to stage an attack at Taksim Square, but dropped the plan after conducting surveillance of the area and concluding there was too much security. Afterwards, Masharipov passed the Reina and decided it would be a good target to attack due to a lack of security.
Vasip Şahin, the governor of Istanbul, described the attack as a "violent and cruel act of terror" and said that the attacker had used a "long-range weapon" to "brutally and savagely" fire on people, referring to a type of assault rifle.
Doğu Türkistan Bülteni Haber Ajansı, which is the Turkish mouthpiece of the Uyghur group Turkistan Islamic Party complained about the Reina massacre suspect being named as Uyghur by Veysi Kaynak, the Deputy Prime Minister, blaming Fethullah Gülen and his movement for the attack. Doğu Türkistan Bülteni Haber Ajansı, speaking on behalf of the TIP, pledged its animosity against Russia and the PKK, saying it fought them alongside Turkmen in Syria for 6 years, denying involvement in the Reina nightclub massacre and trying to blame China for the massacre, claiming that Uyghurs in Küçükçekmece and Zeytinburnu were being unfairly targeted. Doğu Türkistan Bülteni Haber Ajansı and Zeytinburnu Uyghurs blamed the Gülen movement for the Reina nightclub massacre.
- 2015 New Year's attack plots
- List of massacres in Turkey
- List of terrorist incidents in January 2017
- Terrorism in Europe
- List of rampage killers (religious, political or racial crimes)
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- السبيل دوت نت
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